"Well, Jack, you are now done with school. No doubt you are looking forward to going to the university."
"Yes, Dad, I am," said the son.
"You show good judgment," said the father. "The best years of one's life are unquestionably those which are spent at the university. Apart from the vast honeycomb of learning, the mellow voices of the professors, the venerable gray buildings, and the atmosphere of culture and refinement, there is the delight of being in possession of a comfortable allowance."
"Yes, Dad," said the son.
"Rooms of one's own," continued the father. "Little dinners to one's friends, endless credit with tradespeople, pipes, cigars, claret,
, clothes.” Burgundy
“Yes, Dad,” said the son.
“There are exclusive little clubs,” said the old man, “all sorts of sports. May Weeks, theatricals, balls, parties, rags, binges, scaling of walls, dodging of proctors, fun of every conceivable description.”
“Yes! Yes, Dad!” Cried the son.
“Certainly nothing in the world is more delightful than being at the university,” said the father. “The springtime of life! Pleasure after pleasure! The world seems a whole dozen of oysters, each with a pearl in it! Ah, the university! However, I am not going to send you there.”
“Then why the hell do you go on so about it!” said poor Jack.
“I did so in order that you might not think I was carelessly underestimating the pleasures I must call on you to renounce,” said his father. “You see, Jack, my health is not of the best; nothing but champagne agrees with me, and if I smoke a second-rate cigar, I get a vile taste in my mouth. . . . “
John Collier, "Ah the University,"[I did an Amazon review here.]
in Fancies and Goodnights (NYRB Classics 2003)
Saturday, December 16, 2006
From the Bin: Ah, The University
This must be the time of year when high school seniors are finishing up their college application packets: